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Johannesburg, 31 October 2019 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of
Southern Africa (SEIFSA) is discouraged by a slowdown in the Producer Price Index
(PPI) for intermediate manufactured goods, a proxy for selling price inflation in the
Metals and Engineering (M&E) sector, as published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA)
today. 

Speaking after the release of the data, SEIFSA Economist Marique Kruger, said the
slowdown in the PPI for intermediate manufactured goods is not good news for
beleaguered businesses in the M&E cluster of industries,  especially when viewed
against the backdrop of increased volatility in imported input prices as a result of a
generally weak exchange rate. 

The Stats SA data showed that on a year-on-year basis, the PPI for intermediate
manufactured goods slowed from 1.9 percent in August 2019 to 0.5
percent in
September 2019. Correspondingly, the PPI for final manufactured goods for the broader
manufacturing sector also registered a slowdown of 4.1
percent year-on-year in
September 2019. 

“The discouraging slowdown in the PPI for intermediate manufactured goods prevents
businesses from leveraging on the improvements in trading opportunities. Business
conditions have generally been tough and manufacturers are finding it increasingly
difficult to move stock out of the warehouses amid low levels of domestic demand and
higher intermediate input costs,” Ms Kruger said. 

She added that the situation is exacerbated by increasing energy and fuel prices and a
volatile exchange rate, which all add to the individual cost curves of businesses.

She said a selling price increase and positive differential between input cost inflation
and selling price inflation is, therefore, imperative and will no doubt go a long way in
attracting investment, as investors are often in the quest for guaranteed return on their
investments.

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 23 independent employer Associations
in the metals and engineering industries, with a combined membership of 1600
companies employing around 200 000 employees. The Federation was formed in 1943
and its member companies range from giant steel-making corporations to
micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.

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